Poland on spending spree

The Polish Defence Ministry is already putting into action plans it announced in early December to spend more than 61 billion zloty (€13.9bn) to acquire new weapons and military equipment from 2017 to 2022, of which more than 24 billion zloty (€5.67bn) will be spent in the next three years.

Since this announcement, the Defence Ministry has signed two contracts worth a total of more than 4.9 billion zloty (€1.215bn) with subsidiaries of Poland’s state-held PGZ defence group for short-range man-portable air defence systems (MANPADS) and howitzers.

Polish Defence Minister Antoni Macierewicz (Photo credit: Robert Suchy/CO MON)

Polish Defence Minister Antoni Macierewicz (Photo credit: Robert Suchy/CO MON)

Earlier this week the ministry awarded a contract worth 932 million zloty (€211.3m) to missile and ammunition specialist Mesko for new Piorun (thunderbolt) MANPADS. Defence Minister Antoni Macierewicz said at the official signing ceremony on 20 December that the new systems are to “protect Poland, and not threaten or attack anyone.” The first brigades will obtain these weapons in 2017. “Under the deal, the Polish Armed Forces will acquire 1,300 missiles and 420 missile launchers,” Macierewicz said in a statement.

In another deal, the Ministry on 14 December signed a contract worth more than 4.6 billion zloty (€1.04bn) billion) for 96 Krab self-propelled howitzers from local manufacturer Huta Stalowa Wola.

This shows how significant is the emphasis that we place on the development of operational armed forces. From this point of view, the decision to sign this deal has major importance for strengthening the operational armed forces, enabling them to oppose any aggression,” Macierewicz said in a statement.

The howitzers will be fitted with 155mm cannons and built under licence on a South Korean Hanwha Techwin chassis.  The resulting 48-ton, five-crew member Krab, will have a maximum speed of 60 kph.

Twenty-four of these howitzers with three head command vehicles, eight command vehicles, six ammunition vehicles and one repair vehicle will form a Regina artillery unit.

Speaking in early December Katarzyna Jakubowska, the acting spokesperson for the ministry, said Poland’s priority procurements would include new air defence systems, 14 multi-purpose helicopters, 1,200 RPASs (remotely piloted air systems), three coastal defence vessels and two mine destroyers, as well as an undisclosed amount of submarines to be acquired jointly by Poland and an unspecified other NATO ally.

The RPASs will include 1,000 with combat capabilities and 200 with reconnaissance and surveillance capacities.